The Measure and the Manner of God's Love

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
There are two beautiful sides of God's love upon which one may profitably meditate, its measure and its manner; corresponding to the words which the Holy Ghost so abundantly uses, grace and glory. In fact one might go even further than this and say, that they correspond to those suggestive expressions,—the “gospel of the grace,” and the “gospel of the glory.” Upon these two subjects our hearts indeed delight to muse the cross, leading on to remission of sins; the other—Christ risen,—leading on to the glory. The cross, and all that it was to Christ, is the measure; the glory and all that it will be to Him and us, the manner.
The evangelist cannot preach without one; the teacher opens up the other; or, if entirely for scriptural example one might name Peter and Paul,1 the former full of the Lord's grace, the apostle to the circumcision; the latter the apostle to the Gentiles, overflowing with the glory. The first was called by al Savior on earth, the second by the Lord from heaven, each bearing the peculiar marks of his conversion or call. One had committed to him the keys of the kingdom; and the other was entrusted with unfolding the mystery of Christ and the church.
How unspeakably grand is either subject! grace and glory. Grace leads me to the cross for the atoning work; glory introduces me thus cleansed to heaven and the throne. “Even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever” &c. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Here we have not only the measure, but the manner. Well might the aged apostle John, who was so conversant with each aspect of these beautiful expressions of God's heart, exclaim, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God: and [such] we are.” (R. V.) Behold, indeed Behold such wonder! Behold and worship!
And mark, how each aspect reflects itself upon the other. Without grace there could be no glory, and without the glory there could be no adequate answer to the grace. How like our God and Father, thus to begin and perfect, thus to lay the foundation and complete the glorious building!
Mark, too, the aspects of the various parables, how the measure and manner of love are variously illustrated. In the parable of the vineyard in Luke 20 I see the measure: “I will send my beloved Son” are the words of the Lord of the vineyard; with what result? “They cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” How marked the contrast in Luke 4—the prodigal son: there the great thought seems not the measure but the manner of the love. “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.” The first parable referred to is the Father's loss, the second is the Father's gain.
And what manner of the love there is in our Lord's words! “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” in contrast to the measure thereof expressed by Paul, “Who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It is these two aspects of God's love which make the full gospel, telling us of the suffering to redeem, and the consummation of redemption, sweetly blended—the cross of shame, and the crown of glory.
If we go back to the old Testament Scriptures, we find how the heart of David was penetrated, as he sat before Jehovah (2 Sam. 7), with the manner of the love made known to him there. “And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” And how we find the echo of it faintly expressed shortly after in his own dealing with Mephibosheth! “Is there yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him?” Such had been, and infinitely more, the manner of Jehovah's love to himself, and such was now the manner of his love to the son of Saul. “He did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.”
Such, and transcendently more, is the measure and manner of the love held up to our view in the word of God, reaching from heaven to earth, and then again from earth to heaven. How wonderful! And as sure as Justice has been satisfied, and the measure of love exhibited at the cross; so shall the manner thereof be perfected in the glory: redemption the one, and glorification the other. The full complement of both aspects we have tit the new song, “Unto him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and he made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever.” Here measure and manner, justice and grace, the demands of the throne, the answer of the cross, the judgment of our sins, and the Father's love and house, go together and stretch onward through that golden eternity to which we haste.
“Here His bright character is known,
Nor dares a creature guess,
Which of the glories brightest shine,
The justice or the grace.”